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12-22-2013, 08:30 PM   #91
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Really, all I want from pentax is a fantastic camera at a great price. That's what most non-masochistic customers want. Sure, you've got bubbles of crazy brand loyalists who will but anything that says "Brand x", even if brand a does it better for half the price.

12-23-2013, 01:23 AM   #92
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
The trouble with this argument is that it paints Ricoh as a jackal, hanging around the kills and hoping for a morsel after the big beasts have had their fill. A point here and a point more of sales there by doing things a little differently, but not (from your argument) differently to the point where more than modest sums have to be invested in the business by way of R&D or marketing and infrastructure.
I don't see it this way, and I'm quite sure that wasn't what monochrome said.
It's really common sense. Pentax not keeping up with investments, while under Hoya. Ricoh, having a lot of work to do. Work taking time and money. Work best done in an effective way, instead of forcing things to happen. The market just can't support taking unnecessary risks.
If you were hoping they would compete head to head to Canon and Nikon before all those extensive preparations, and before growing to be comparable in size (Ricoh Imaging), well - that's completely unrealistic.

QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
The risk is that if either Canon or Nikon or both suddenly start switching their lower tiers of consumer cameras to short-registration mounts and EVFs, and overall to smaller bodies, then Ricoh will be left high and dry. They'll be stuck trying to sell those old school DSLRs but, because they've been travelling light, they won't have the R&D to follow suit smoothly and quickly and will be very late to the party again, with all the best seats already taken. So, in this regard, Ricoh are placing their business in hock to others. Hmmn.
And leave the entire DSLR market to Pentax/Ricoh Imaging? That would be great! (for Ricoh Imaging, anyway; I'm not sure I'd appreciate the lack of competition). But what's the chance of both Canon and Nikon suddenly going insane?
12-23-2013, 03:01 AM - 1 Like   #93
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QuoteOriginally posted by Uluru Quote
There is a significant difference between different sizes and appetites, and what it takes to keep a corporate entity running. Nikon, Canon and Sony all have very big appetites, and they must spend a lot on advertising, raising their voice, making noise, introduce new models month after month, etc. Their schedules are ridiculous and expenses huge.

When we see them advertising, we presume Pentax is losing its ground. But that is not true.

That is not true because we are wrapped in an exaggerated reality advertising creates, and at that moment we are not in touch with reality as it is. On the other hand, Ricoh Imaging can produce and release only as much as necessary to sustain their relatively low profile and still prosper simply by embracing the halo effect of the advertising created by $$ of other brands.

That one is very important and often overlooked fact.

For example, if $10,000 spent on advertising by Canon makes 30 people see their cameras, it is very likely that at least 5 of them will also see a Pentax camera on the shelf, or in Amazon list page, and if prompted by clerk's clever remark, or a good price, Canon's advertising money helped sell a Pentax camera and lens. To Ricoh Imaging that is $10,000 saved, that might work as well in the opposite direction (people buy Canon or Nikon cameras instead).

Thus when Nikon, Sony and Canon are advertising, they all help sell Pentax and Ricoh cameras too to the extent that Ricoh does not need invest as many advertising $$ in direct campaigns — but rather place products in the same shop and make a good deal with the owner.

As I tried to illustrate in an other thread, today all DSLR manufacturers sell in average 3-4x times more cameras than in best film years. Pentax sells quite a few too, and it doesn't mean at all that their goal must be to sell as many as Nikon or Canon or Sony. To achieve such levels, their advertising and production costs will skyrocket, and that would be a suicide.

Passive advertising, active advertising only in case of direct online promotions on their own websites, smart positioning, offering a lot for same $$, loyalty, imaginative development, etc. is the key of a steady progress undisturbed by fluctuations and regurgitations that bother big players. By being relatively small, Pentax can focus on true values that make photographic experience exciting.

Wonder why people love the experience of products made by small players, Leica or Pentax? Because the passion, and loyalty part of the business are undisturbed, and quite sustained by the facility of their smaller size. But Canon, Nikon or Sony cannot live with an idea to shrink their size, that it is all about quality not quantity. Hence they are trapped inside a very exhausting game.
Small doesn't work in the consumer electronics industry. How many if any niche players trying to sell mainstream products on the high street are there in, say, mobile phones, TVs, computers, consumer operating systems, etc? Let alone in designing and fabbing silicon.

Anyone can start in the artisanal chocolate industry, for example, for not much more than the cost of some cacao and a stall at a local market. But the cost of playing in the retail - note: retail - consumer electronics industry is stupendous and you can really only fund that in two ways: by volume sales (and so volume marketing and representation) or via handouts from an indulgent corporation which for whatever reason is prepared to underwrite your losses (or poor profits if those are insufficient to fund projects going forward). I simply don't think it's realistic to think that Pentax can prosper by a being small niche player in this kind of industry. That's in large part because Pentax has never majored on niche cameras: it is best known for impeccably mainstream cameras offering value (via features or price). Ricoh, on the other hand, has produced very niche cameras in recent years, thus they and Pentax are two different offers. I don't see an attempt to "Ricoh-ize" the Pentax branding working out. As I said, Pentax is mainstream in a way the Ricoh brand is not. "Well yes, they did make mainstream cameras a few years ago" isn't much to look forward to, imho.

What I see in this thread is a new groupthink coalescing around the idea that what everyone hoped for a year or two ago by way of growth and investment isn't going to happen. Instead there may be small, modestly represented and, er, niche. That's fine, but call it for what it is. For all we know, Pentax may well indeed prosper - but in B2B security and document imaging, for example, a world away from the demanding and costly realms of mainstream cameras. The money to be made there may be far in excess of that from the shopping malls. As for retail consumer electronics? On the basis outlined in this thread, I'm not at all sure. Which is why I think the new groupthink may be mistaken. I expect Mr Murano will explain all in due course.

Last edited by mecrox; 12-23-2013 at 03:59 AM.
12-23-2013, 05:03 AM   #94
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
Small doesn't work in the consumer electronics industry. How many if any niche players trying to sell mainstream products on the high street are there in, say, mobile phones, TVs, computers, consumer operating systems, etc? Let alone in designing and fabbing silicon.

Anyone can start in the artisanal chocolate industry, for example, for not much more than the cost of some cacao and a stall at a local market. But the cost of playing in the retail - note: retail - consumer electronics industry is stupendous and you can really only fund that in two ways: by volume sales (and so volume marketing and representation) or via handouts from an indulgent corporation which for whatever reason is prepared to underwrite your losses (or poor profits if those are insufficient to fund projects going forward). I simply don't think it's realistic to think that Pentax can prosper by a being small niche player in this kind of industry. That's in large part because Pentax has never majored on niche cameras: it is best known for impeccably mainstream cameras offering value (via features or price). Ricoh, on the other hand, has produced very niche cameras in recent years but they and Pentax are two different offers. I don't see an attempt to "Ricoh-ize" the Pentax branding working out. As I said, Pentax is mainstream in a way the Ricoh brand is not.

What I see in this thread is a new groupthink coalescing around the idea that what everyone hoped for a year or two ago by way of growth and investment isn't going to happen. That's fine, but call it for what it is. For all we know, Pentax may well indeed prosper - but in B2B security and document imaging, for example, a world away from the demanding and costly realms of mainstream cameras. As for retail consumer electronics? On the basis outlined in this thread, I'm not at all sure. Which is why I think the new groupthink may be mistaken. I expect Mr Murano will explain all in due course.
I agree with you only to some extent. The camera industry is only one half consumer electronics. The other half is optics. Sony is a perfect example of the consumer electronics giant churning out one darn good camera after another - without ever really fleshing out their lens lineup.

Leica is the opposite. Only 1300 employees. Teetering on the brink of bancruptcy a few years ago. And to everyone's amazement they did not abandon cameras but came out with their M8/M9. And just when I thought that little guy must be exhausted, they added the S series. Wow.

So big is not necessarily a reqirement (although it helps). I do agree with you that Pentax' bread and butter cameras are their APS-C offerings. Particularly the high end, where Canikon seem to be a bit unsure right now. Both Nikon's D300 and Canon's 7D are dinosaurs by digital standards.
So along comes the Pentax K3, taking the crown of DSLR of the year over at dp review. Way to go Pentax and I hope that quality and publicity translate into sales.

But Pentax have to hedge their bets. The entire market has changed significantly from the past when the 35mm SLR was the undisputed king.

- Now we live in a multi format world.
Sensor sizes range from smartphones and 1/2.3" all the way up to medium format and none of them are going to go away - no matter what some of the "one format uber alles" fanboys might say. The ultimate superiority of larger sensors will remain just as much a fact as the narrowing gap with respect to the smaller ones.

- Now we live in a multi viewfinder world.
The optical viewfinder has been joined by the electronic version and again neither is going to go away.

- Now we live in a multi mount world.
With few exceptions (T2, M42, Tamron's adaptall etc.) choosing a camera brand also meant chosing a lens lineup. But ever since PanOly intruced the m43 format, users have been adapting their various lenses like crazy. The current Sony A7/R is continuing that tradition. Loyalty to one mount is diminishing.

So in a sense, the entire camera world is becoming full of niches and no one format will ever again reign supreme like the 35mm film camera once did.
Consumers will make their choices.
Cheers
Chris

12-23-2013, 05:25 AM   #95
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QuoteOriginally posted by eyeswideshut Quote
I agree with you only to some extent. The camera industry is only one half consumer electronics. The other half is optics. Sony is a perfect example of the consumer electronics giant churning out one darn good camera after another - without ever really fleshing out their lens lineup.

Leica is the opposite. Only 1300 employees. Teetering on the brink of bancruptcy a few years ago. And to everyone's amazement they did not abandon cameras but came out with their M8/M9. And just when I thought that little guy must be exhausted, they added the S series. Wow.

So big is not necessarily a reqirement (although it helps). I do agree with you that Pentax' bread and butter cameras are their APS-C offerings. Particularly the high end, where Canikon seem to be a bit unsure right now. Both Nikon's D300 and Canon's 7D are dinosaurs by digital standards.
So along comes the Pentax K3, taking the crown of DSLR of the year over at dp review. Way to go Pentax and I hope that quality and publicity translate into sales.

But Pentax have to hedge their bets. The entire market has changed significantly from the past when the 35mm SLR was the undisputed king.

- Now we live in a multi format world.
Sensor sizes range from smartphones and 1/2.3" all the way up to medium format and none of them are going to go away - no matter what some of the "one format uber alles" fanboys might say. The ultimate superiority of larger sensors will remain just as much a fact as the narrowing gap with respect to the smaller ones.

- Now we live in a multi viewfinder world.
The optical viewfinder has been joined by the electronic version and again neither is going to go away.

- Now we live in a multi mount world.
With few exceptions (T2, M42, Tamron's adaptall etc.) choosing a camera brand also meant chosing a lens lineup. But ever since PanOly intruced the m43 format, users have been adapting their various lenses like crazy. The current Sony A7/R is continuing that tradition. Loyalty to one mount is diminishing.

So in a sense, the entire camera world is becoming full of niches and no one format will ever again reign supreme like the 35mm film camera once did.
Consumers will make their choices.
Cheers
Chris
All very good points indeed. I probably wasn't clear enough. Big is a huge advantage, imho, if you are doing mainstream consumer products at retail. And that, in recent years anyway, is just what Pentax have been doing. The K5, K30, K50 and K3 are all excellent examples of it. So how do you move into becoming a niche player if your products are in fact mainstream? That's why I can't see things adding up at the mo. You're right too, that there are many different formats out there, but the big players get the benefits of economy of scale and designing for modular as well as the umbrella effect from big brand marketing. They also get easy access to sensors which they may have designed themselves because their size gives them the resources to - another advantage most likely. Anyway, it's an interesting discussion and there is no way in which everyone is going to agree on these things. I know Leica always get mentioned in these threads but I think they are sui generis and really off the chart compared to the main retail scene.

I think one could argue that one format does indeed reign supreme at the moment, if you tweak "format" a little: the camera phone. In fact, vastly more so by numbers than 35mm ever did.

Last edited by mecrox; 12-23-2013 at 05:34 AM.
12-23-2013, 05:41 AM   #96
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Thank you for the translation, leonsroar! I think this interview is very encouraging, even for the FF choir: After all little doubt was left that FF is coming.

Can't wait to see the "645D II", hope we'll get at least a preview at CP+! I doubt that I'll ever be able to justify the price of a 645D model, but I would like to see another ground breaking camera from Pentax!
12-23-2013, 07:21 AM   #97
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I have a feeling this a is a setup for April 1st...

Anyway, if true... the interview is very disappointing... no matter what way you flip it.
12-23-2013, 07:31 AM   #98
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QuoteOriginally posted by mecrox Quote
All very good points indeed. I probably wasn't clear enough. Big is a huge advantage, imho, if you are doing mainstream consumer products at retail. And that, in recent years anyway, is just what Pentax have been doing. The K5, K30, K50 and K3 are all excellent examples of it. So how do you move into becoming a niche player if your products are in fact mainstream? That's why I can't see things adding up at the mo. You're right too, that there are many different formats out there, but the big players get the benefits of economy of scale and designing for modular as well as the umbrella effect from big brand marketing. They also get easy access to sensors which they may have designed themselves because their size gives them the resources to - another advantage most likely. Anyway, it's an interesting discussion and there is no way in which everyone is going to agree on these things. I know Leica always get mentioned in these threads but I think they are sui generis and really off the chart compared to the main retail scene.

I think one could argue that one format does indeed reign supreme at the moment, if you tweak "format" a little: the camera phone. In fact, vastly more so by numbers than 35mm ever did.
Just checked and according to ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/about/outline.html they currently have 1900 employees at Ricoh Imaging. Compared to Canon, Nikon, even Olympus, they are small. Sort of like Leica - albeit without that niche appeal.

Anyway, it will be very intersting to see just what kind of ff camera they ultimately release. Maybe Adam (moderator) is right and they will try to leap frog the competition by offering a downscaled 645d, but under even the best of circumstances I cannot imagine that being a camera below euro$ 5000 - well beyond what even the most die hard pentaxian will ordinarily spend. And like you say (or at least I think that's what you say) they need to make damn sure they don't kill off sales from their APS-C line. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

I've said this before*, my prediction is a purely manual focus ff camera with the best and the brightest interchangeable viewfinder in the industry. There has been continued clamoring / support from enthusiasts of ALL brands for years - but no one has had the guts yet to make one. It has the added charm of maximizing demand for ltd* lenses (something many a canikon user wished they had) while making availability of zoom lenses (which pentax does not have) irrelevant. And of course it would be not so much an upgrade path for current pentax aps-c customers as an invitation to users of all brands to try Pentax.

* https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/169-pentax-full-frame/241967-treading-ff-...ml#post2621237

12-23-2013, 10:19 AM   #99
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QuoteOriginally posted by eyeswideshut Quote

I've said this before*, my prediction is a purely manual focus ff camera with the best and the brightest interchangeable viewfinder in the industry. There has been continued clamoring / support from enthusiasts of ALL brands for years - but no one has had the guts yet to make one.
Nobody has had the guts to make a manual focus only camera because they don't want to lose money. There's always somebody clamoring for something, but good market research will tell you if it will sell, and that's why nobody has made it.
12-23-2013, 10:42 AM   #100
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
Nobody has had the guts to make a manual focus only camera because they don't want to lose money. There's always somebody clamoring for something, but good market research will tell you if it will sell, and that's why nobody has made it.
You are arguing that if people wanted it, it would already exist. Maybe. We'll see.
But if Cosina had asked a panel of potential customers in 1998 "Do you want a rangefinder camera?" good market research would have revealed "Hell no". And yet the Bessas, Noktons, Ultrons etc etc saved a company otherwise consigned to oblivion. Sometimes a little bit of vision goes much further than the best market research. And if you follow Nikon at all, check some of the responses to the Df and all of a sudden a full format camera optimized for manual focusing will no longer seem far fetched at all.
Cheers
12-23-2013, 10:44 AM   #101
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An FF optimized for MF but still able to AF... I desire that!
12-23-2013, 10:54 AM   #102
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrNewt Quote
An FF optimized for MF but still able to AF... I desire that!
Good! That makes two of us :-)
12-23-2013, 10:55 AM   #103
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QuoteOriginally posted by eyeswideshut Quote
no matter what some of the "one format uber alles" fanboys might say.
Who are these people? I'll show them what for.
12-23-2013, 11:08 AM   #104
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A FF camera which can be focused manually with eyes wide shut

No offend intended.
12-23-2013, 11:17 AM   #105
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I really don't understand what you all are talking about. Does anyone realize that the reason that Leica came back was not because of the camera bodies (which were OK), but because of glass? If Pentax wants to gain market share, a full frame body might help, but having killer glass that is special in some way is key.
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